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Car Rental Specials on the Internet
The internet is one of the fastest and easiest ways to find specials on car rentals. If you're like me, and don't enjoy sitting on the phone for hours, the web is your best travel searching resource.
Car rental specials are a great way to get a cheaper car rental. They allow car rental companies to get their vehicles booked in advance and allow you to save money!
You can access car rental specials through each individual company’s website or through booking sites. I would definitely check both to get the best rate possible. I did find cheaper rates with prepaid booking sites (where you pay for the rental up-front) but these usually allow no modifications or cancellations of the reservation. If you are booking through a prepaid booking site, make sure to read the terms and conditions very carefully and keep these factors in mind when you are checking prices.
When you are checking a company specific website, check the rate first with no discount, then with a discount code (if you have one), and with the special offered by the company. This way you are sure to get the cheapest rate offered.
On the car rental company websites there are basic types of specials that most offer.
% Off Specials
These types of specials can range from 10% to 50% off rates; usually weekly or weekend rates. Sometimes you will see seasonal specials or midweek specials.
Many rental companies will offer car rental specials if you prepay the reservation on their website. This will involve providing your credit card at the time of booking and the amount of the rental will be billed right away.
$ Off /Free Day Specials
Many rental company websites offer $ off and or Free Day car rental specials. This would be considered an internet coupon offer. This can range from $5 - $50 off depending on the company and the length of the rental or the price per day if it is a Free Day offer.
Location Specific Car Rental Specials
Many companies will offer specials at either airport locations, neighbourhood locations or both. They may also offer car rental specials in specific cities at certain times.
You should always check the terms and conditions for any specials to make sure that your particular rental qualifies.The terms and conditions for most specials a
Most specials are limited to specific car types and sizes, unless the special is for “all car sizes”.
Most specials have a minimum and a maximum rental period. Make sure that your rental conforms to these guidelines.
Most offers are not valid in conjunction with any other rate programs or special offers, and cannot be used with a coupon or on a one-way rental.
Any % off/ money off or free day specials will be on the base rate of the vehicle only, and will not apply to the taxes and surcharges at the location or any optional equipment or waivers that you may purchase.
Check for date restrictions. Most offers will require an advance reservation and are only available for a specified length of time. Look for terms such as “Available through” a certain date (must be booked and rented before such date). This will sometimes be worded as “Offer expires by…” or “Rental must begin by…”
Look for the term “blackout dates” Most companies restrict their offer at peak times and holidays. Keep in mind that peak times can vary by location. If there is an annual large convention in a certain city and the rental locations are extremely busy they will generally blackout specials for that time. This applies to large events as well (example: Nascar Events, PGA tour events, Mardi Gras, etc.) If the blackout dates are not listed, you should be able to call or contact the rental company to find out the specifics.
Most offers are available at “participating locations” and usually restricted to certain countries. Check to see if the offer is available at airport locations, urban locations, suburban locations or a combination of these.
Many companies do not offer specials in the New York are, Alaska or Hawaii. Check your terms and conditions for these restrictions.
For a prepaid booking special you will need to present the same major credit card you used to book the rental at the rental counter. The name on credit card and the name on the driver’s license must match. You cannot use someone else’s credit card to prepay your reservation.
For most prepaid car rental specials and advanced reservation is required. You usually have to book and prepay the rental at least 24 hours before you go to pick it up.
Debit cards are generally not accepted for prepaid reservations.
Even if you book a prepaid reservation online, you cannot cancel them online. You must call the company directly to cancel or modify. Keep in mind that if modifying, you are basically cancelling the reservation and rebooking; this will often affect your rate. Check to see if and what the cancellation and no-show policy is for prepaid car rental specials.
Many companies offer specials only available to subscribers – sign up for email notifications for any car rental companies you prefer.
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